EntertainmentFrom growing up in Breña to going on tour...

From growing up in Breña to going on tour with Harry Styles: the Peruvian sound engineer who works with the star

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Christian lived since he was little in the district of Breña, Lima. During the 1990s, he became deeply involved with music thanks to his closest friends. At that time, he fell in love with this industry. At just 19 years old, Christian immigrated to Los Angeles (United States) from Peru to live with his father. He arrived knowing very little English and -as he confesses- it was hard at first, but after a couple of years he was able to adapt.

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During that time he did not forget music, although he accepted that he would not become a musician. His passion would go elsewhere: sound engineering. Finding out among his acquaintances, he discovered this career and opted for the Full Sail school in Orlando (Florida) to study it.

“Arriving in the United States, I realized that the competition (to be a musician) was very high, it scared me. I was afraid to be next to young musicians, of my age. The doubt was always in my head. But I want to believe that it led me to the right side because I love what I dosaid in exclusive conversation with Trade.

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Work with industry greats

After leaving the classrooms, he began to work. His first contract was with a cruise company and he mixed in a room for the shows that took place every night. Subsequently, he moved to the production of “Cirque du Soleil” (“Circus of the Sun”).

His foray into the artistic field came about thanks to the opportunity he was given in 2016 to work in the concert that the British band The Rolling Stones was going to offer at the Sports Complex in Havana, Cuba. Christian worked as a sound engineer and still remembers with great emotion that free concert that was attended by around 500,000 people.

“They needed people to go to Cuba, who speak Spanish and have this slightly more technical position. I went there and from that moment, since I worked with them, the doors opened a lot and the truth is that I have not stopped working. I think that was the opportunity that opened that door for this type of event, concerts and things of that magnitude.”he explained.

Months later, he joined the tour of the American group Aerosmith through various cities in Latin America. One of the destinations was Lima and the concert was held on October 24, 2016 at the National Stadium. Furthermore, it was the first time that Christian Zuñiga had come to his country as part of a major international production. “That moment was great.”assured the sound engineer.

Christian Zuñiga (left) during his visit to Lima for the Aerosmith concert in 2016 with Davis Landa, the person who influenced him to dedicate himself to sound engineering.  (Photo: Personal file of Christian Zuñiga)

Later, and thanks to the work carried out, Zuñiga was called to work with The Weeknd between 2017 and 2018, Ricky Martin in 2017, Florence and the Machine between 2018 and 2019; as well as with Kanye West between 2019 and 2020. Although, so far, he has not had the opportunity to collaborate with the production for any Peruvian artist.

“The opportunity has not yet been given (to work with national singers) and that is what I have been talking about lately here in Mexico, where I know a lot of people. In Peru, the truth is that I don’t know many (musicians). So, a little difficult to be in contact”he asserted.

Going on tour in a pandemic

While working with Florence and the Machine, Christian met some British managers, so after the shows he kept in touch with them. Thus, one day, one of them called him to join Harry Styles’ tour, initially scheduled for 2020. And he did not hesitate.

At first it was very hard because of the regulations that they gave us in the United States and all the inconveniences that this pandemic brings. We toured the US for 3 months and it was very strong, we had to isolate ourselves. We couldn’t get together much, we couldn’t talk to Harry, you had to communicate from afar, he was very brave. We had covid exams three times a day, sometimes even four times ”, told this newspaper.

As the work was successful in that first stage of the tour, the team summoned Christian again for the new phase of the tour that would reach Europe and Latin America. In addition, he was also part of the show that Harry Styles gave at Coachella, held in April 2022; as well as the production for his latest album “Harry’s House” released last May.

Christian Zuñiga during Harry Styles

“When this record comes out, you already knew that he was going to go to another level. Before we were in coliseums and basketball arenas, now we are in stadiums. Throughout South America we will be in stadiums like the Nacional in Lima and the River Plate in Buenos Aires. It’s the euphoria of Harry’s arrival.”he assured.

Within this tour, Christian has one of the most important tasks so that the show goes as planned. His job as a sound engineer is to establish communication between the musicians and the singer. This means that Harry, through the In Ear Monitors, must perfectly hear the track marked by the band members.

“I have to organize everything that is the frequencies in the air and the communication of all the production. The position I have here is a sound engineer, specializing in wireless frequencies. I coordinate everything that is sound with the musicians and with Harry directly. It’s easier to show than to explain.” he said between laughs, evidencing the great affection he has for his profession.

back to the motherland

There are only a few hours left for Christian Zuñiga to appear again in Peru, but this time as part of the ‘crew’ of one of the greatest musical stars of the moment. This brings great joy to the sound engineer, who cannot believe that he will return to work at the National Stadium; because, initially, the Styles concert -scheduled for 2020 in Lima- was going to be at the Jockey Plaza.

“It is exciting to be Peruvian and go to play in Lima. It’s great that the people who go with you know a little about where you were born, where you grew up and that they enjoy it. There are many emotions. I would like to stay, but this industry limits you and demands a lot of time (…) For me, going back to my homeland, seeing my family and friends, is going to be incredible. everyone is very excitedhe assured.

The Peruvian is in charge of establishing communication between the musicians and the British singer.  (Photo: Personal file of Christian Zuñiga)

Likewise, the Peruvian assured that the entire team of Harry Styles, including the singer himself, is excited to return to Peru, a country that -as remembered- visited in 2014 alongside One Direction.

“(Harry) is very excited to be there. The days are a bit short, there is not much to enjoy. He is extremely excited, that is, he has never played in Lima (as a soloist). It’s a super show. We have been waiting to go to South America for many months. Ending the year like this is incredible”he pointed out.

Lastly, Christian Zuñiga left a message to all the people who seek to be part of the music industry, because -from his experience- there are no limits to fulfilling your dreams. “There are always obstacles in everything, but when you have a mindset, you already know what you want to be in life. That’s what’s important. I would like kids who are in high school, who are planning to make a career out of this life of entertainment, to get some inspiration. The Americans are not the ones who run the whole system, there are also many of us (Latinos) who are hereended.

Source: Elcomercio

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